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Vivir Mejor: radio education in rural Colombia (1960–80)

Cant, Anna (2020) Vivir Mejor: radio education in rural Colombia (1960–80). Americas, 77 (4). 573 - 600. ISSN 0003-1615

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Identification Number: 10.1017/tam.2020.42


Founded in 1947 by a Catholic priest, Acción Cultural Popular (ACPO) was a pioneer in radio education. Offering a radio station (Radio Sutatenza), study manuals, and a newspaper, ACPO provided basic education and encouraged campesinos to seek personal development and to “vivir mejor”--to live better. From 1947 to 1994, it attracted over four million subscribers and became a model in 13 Latin American countries. In this article I show how ACPO's approach to rural development and communication style evolved between 1960 and 1980. As a consequence of technological, economic, and cultural developments, Radio Sutatenza, a station with a more or less captive audience of illiterate peasants, changed as it was forced to respond to rural Colombians’ shifting aspirations and competition from commercial radio. While the organization's founding principles remained constant throughout this period, its articulation of what it meant to “live better” changed over time, reflecting the struggles of a religious organization to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. While ACPO saw itself as the bearer of modernity, it was often confronted by independent processes of change already occurring in rural communities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2020 15:39
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2024 21:30

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